Wasatch Back won’t see snow until February
"It's been kind of a feast-or-famine ski season," Professor Powder says.
Area ski resorts will be waiting for at least a week for the next snowstorm.
“We're seeing another one of these big breaks like we've had this year," said University of Utah atmospheric sciences professor Jim Steenburgh. "It's been kind of a feast or famine ski season; we get into these periods where we get a decent amount of snow, and then we get these long breaks.”
A while meaning for the rest of January and then we will see.— Jim Steenburgh (@ProfessorPowder) January 25, 2024
Steenburgh noted that means worsening pollution in valleys where there’s an inversion. The haze is the worst in the Salt Lake Valley, but areas of the Wasatch Back like Heber City can see morning inversions trapping pollution too.
The January sun hits Utah at a low angle, mostly from the south, so skiers can expect south-facing slopes to soften this week.
“I think that anything on the north side of the compass will probably hold up reasonably well,” the professor said.
So resorts can cope with the dryer pattern. It’s a different story this year for backcountry enthusiasts like Steenburgh.
He says he’s avoided avalanche terrain—that’s slopes 30 degrees or steeper and anything underneath them—all season.
“Right now, we have this persistent weak layer in the snowpack that formed during that long dry spell in December and it's taking a long time to heal up,” Steenburgh explained.
Snowfall was delayed this year, but after the latest “feast,” Utah’s snowpack is back at healthy levels.
The National Weather Service says there’s a “slight chance” of rain and snow in northern Utah late next week.